James O’Donnell, Ph.D.
Principal Scientist

Dr. James O’Donnell's research focuses on understanding the physical processes that determine the circulation and transport of materials in the coastal ocean. He is currently involved in both the construction and testing of models and the development of observational techniques. He is also interested in fundamental geophysical and environmental fluid dynamics and the application of mathematical and statistical methods to the development of models of biogeochemical processes.

Dr. O’Donnell is involved in the development of a permanent ocean observing system in Long Island Sound and the adjacent shelf. This multi-use infrastructure provides real-time data for environmental managers and the general public, as well as providing new scientific insights. The availability of this data has generated new applications. Dr. O’Donnell has used this data in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard to develop an improved drift prediction system for the search and rescue applications.

Areas of Expertise

  • Physical Oceanography
  • Coastal and Ocean Environmental Data Analysis
  • Environmental Modeling and Assessment
  • Operational Forecasting
  • Numerical Methods
  • Computer Visualization
  • Fluid dynamics
  • Litigation Support and Expert Testimony


  • Ph.D., Physical Oceanography, University of Delaware
  • Master of Science, Physical Oceanography, University of Delaware
  • Bachelor of Science (hons), Applied Physics. Strathclyde University, Scotland

Achievement, Credentials & Affiliations

  • Member, Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering
  • Director , North East Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems
  • Direcotre, Middle Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association.
  • Connecticut Representative Bi-State Commission on Long Island Sound.
  • Connecticut Governor Malloy’s Commission on the Environment